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Explained: Diabetes

Explained: Diabetes - theskinnyfoodco

Explained: Diabetes

A comprehensive guide to Diabetes. 

Definition: What is Diabetes?

Diabetes is a lifelong condition that causes a person's blood sugar level to become too high - it is a chronic health condition that affects how your body turns food into energy.

What are the different types of diabetes?

There are 2 main types of diabetes:

    • type 1 diabetes – where the body's immune system attacks and destroys the cells that produce insulin
    • type 2 diabetes – where the body does not produce enough insulin, or the body's cells do not react to insulin

    Type 2 diabetes is far more common than type 1. In the UK, around 90% of all adults with diabetes have type 2.

    What are the causes of diabetes?

    Most of the food you eat is broken down into sugar (also called glucose) and released into your bloodstream. When your blood sugar goes up, it signals your pancreas to release insulin. The insulin moves glucose out of the blood and into cells where it's broken down to produce energy.

    However, if you have diabetes, your body is unable to break down glucose into energy. This is because there's either not enough insulin to move the glucose, or the insulin produced does not work properly.

    If you have Type 1 Diabetes, there are no lifestyle changes you can make to prevent Diabetes.

    However, you can help manage Type 2 Diabetes by making lifestyle changes such as adopting a balanced diet and exercising regularly.

    How do you manage and treat diabetes?

    If you've been diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes, it's important to maintain a balanced diet and exercise regularly - sometimes you may have to take regular blood tests to check your glucose levels.

    If you are diagnosed with type 2 diabetes there are a number of effective management methods you may be advised to try out. These include:

    • Healthy eating
    • Regular exercise
    • Diabetes medication or insulin therapy (only in some cases)
    • Regular blood sugar monitoring

    Of course, even if you aren’t diagnosed with Diabetes, but still fall within the categories of those at higher risk, it’s a good idea to watch what you’re eating and exercise regularly so that you can reduce the risk of a potential diagnosis in the future.

    People diagnosed with type 1 diabetes also require regular insulin injections for the rest of their life.

    What are the signs of diabetes?

    Taken from the NHS England, symptoms of diabetes include:

    • feeling very thirsty
    • peeing more frequently than usual, particularly at night
    • feeling very tired
    • weight loss and loss of muscle bulk
    • cuts or wounds that heal slowly
    • blurred vision

    Visit your GP as soon as possible if you experience these main symptoms of diabetes.


    Your food choice really matter when you're diabetic, so it's important that you're aware which foods to avoid if you're diabetic.

    Depending on what type of diabetes you have - you should completely avoid certain foods or limit yourself to particular foods. There's nothing you cannot eat if you have type 2 diabetes, but you'll have to limit certain foods.

    So, what foods are best, and worst for a diabetic diet?

    1. Sugars

    Sugary foods are a big no no the majority of the time when following a diabetic diet.

    Foods to be wary of

    • Baked goods
    • Cakes
    • Sauces
    • Syrups
    • Flavoured rinks

    The Skinny Food Co have an abundance of sugar free and low sugar products including sauces, syrups, baking kits, chocolate spreads, coffee syrups, sugar free snacks and much more!

    Shop our Sugar Free Collection today.

    2. Carbs

    Carbs provide your body with energy, when they are broken down they can have the greatest effect on your blood sugar as they are broken down into sugar or glucose which are then absorbed into your bloodstream. 

    When people who are diabetic consume large amounts of carbs, their blood sugar levels can rise to dangerously high levels so important to avoid these.

    Foods to be wary of

    • Processed grains
    • White bread
    • White rice
    • White tortilla wraps
    • Fries

    Foods that are better

    • Whole grains
    • Brown rice
    • Quinoa
    • Oats
    • Baked sweet potato

    3. Trans Fats

    Trans fats can make it harder to manage your diabetes as ultimately consuming vast amount of foods contain trans fats can lead to weight loss and can impact your heart health. 

    A large portion of saturated fats come from meat and dairy. Always check the ingredient list for anything "partially hydrogenated". 

    Foods that are better

    • Vegetable fats
    • Nuts
    • Seeds
    • Avocados
    • Omega 3 fatty acids
    • Salmon
    • Tuna
    • Mackerel


    Drinks to avoid if you're diabetic include:

    1. Regular soda and fizzy drinks. Soda takes the top spot on the list of drinks to avoid as fizzy and soft drinks are usually packed with sugars - try and opt for the sugar free option.
    2. Energy drinks. Energy drinks can be high in both caffeine and carbohydrates, again try and opt for the sugar free option if possible.
    3. Sweetened or unsweetened fruit juices. Fruit contains a lot of natural sugars, so it is wise to avoid fruit juices.

    Best drinks if you're diabetic include:

    1. Water
    2. Unsweetened tea
    3. Herbal tea
    4. Unsweetened coffee
    5. Vegetable juice
    6. Low fat milk
    7. Milk alternatives
    8. Sugar-free soft drinks

    Other Diabetic Blogs and Recipes

    The Skinny Food Co have multiple blogs based on Diabetes which you can find via our Health and Wellbeing Blog page.

    We also have lots of Diabetic Friendly Recipes incorporating products from our Sugar Free Range which you can find via our Recipes page, or visit our Delicious Diabetic Friendly Recipes blog.

    Need help?

    The NHS England Website has a tonne of information on Diabetes:

    Type 1 Diabetes 

    Type 2 Diabetes

    You can also follow online accounts and advocates for Diabetes - there's some much help, guidance and advice online for Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes!

    We have been very fortunate to be of assistance to lots of people living with diabetes and our products are suitable for diabetic. Look out for the Sugarwise logo and read more about Sugarwise here.

    Shop The Skinny Food Co Collection today!


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